Anti-hackathon: Quit waiting

Life is not a junior high school dance. I get so tired of people who say they want to do something but won’t step up. I was going to use “women” in that last sentence but then I realized that some of the people who drive me craziest in this regard are men. Whether it is being an international athlete or starting a new career, I hear over and over,

I wish I could but …

But what? In very, very rare cases there may be a valid excuse, like I’m 55 years old so I am not going to be able to go to the Olympics in the 100 yard dash. In most cases, it’s fear, primarily fear of failure. No one has computer phobia or math phobia. They have “feeling stupid” phobia. I suggested the anti-hackathon for people who wanted to work on a new project, get  their feet wet and up to their elbows in a development project but could not or did not want to:

  1. Work somewhere away from home for 24-48 hours straight.
  2. Hang out all night with a bunch of strangers eating pizza and drinking mediocre coffee.
  3. Be away from their children
  4. Start from scratch and not be able to use code, artwork, design,etc. they had already completed.

Right away, we had a few people sign up and several more people tell me they would like to do it but could not because they did not think they had anything to offer, had no coding experience, didn’t know any developers, didn’t think they were that good at design, coding, art, etc. I have one question to ask you – How do you plan on getting good? This is how you get good at things – you do them. For the love of God, quit waiting for permission, absolution or invitation, especially from me. If you want to do something, raise your hand, jump in, volunteer. Yeah, you’ll probably suck at first. Then, you’ll get better. You can read about the anti-hackathon here. As for the people who wrote to me to tell me that they would like to do it but they were too busy, I found that confusing. I don’t mean the people who didn’t have time but were interested in the concept and wanted to be informed, or the media people who wanted to know if they could observe. That part makes perfect sense. No, I mean people who emailed me and said,

I’d like to do this but I’m busy.

Why weren’t you too busy to write me? There are several million things in the world I’m too busy to do right this minute. That doesn’t require giving anyone notice.

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